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DC Shorts Showcases World Class Indie Films to Diverse Audiences

By Yi Chen 

Founded in 2003, the DC Shorts Film Festival was created by DC-based filmmaker, Jon Gann. Frustrated that many festivals were focused on money and sponsors and not films and filmmakers, he decided to start his own event, focusing on the form he loves – shorts.

For me, it’s about connections,” said Gann. “I try to program the festival in a way that fosters that. To me, that’s the exciting part.” This year, DC Shorts partnered with the Asia Heritage Foundation to connect with the Asian American community in the area. “We reach out to different international partners to help promote specific country films to their audiences.” Gann told us, the partnership “is a natural fit.”

Wuiping Yap, Executive Director of the Asian Heritage Foundation, is on the DC Shorts Board of Directors. She is also a recipient of this year’s Community Service Awards given by the District’s Mayor Gray. “It is incredible to have so many diverse shorts from all over the world in one festival,” said Yap. “I think the Asian American community regardless of particular ethnicity should take the time to explore the shorts at the festival.”

The tenth annual DC Shorts Film Festival runs from September 19 through September 29 and showcases 153 films from 23 nations. In addition to the six venues in the DMV area, this year DC Shorts also offers an online film festival where audiences can watch the films from anywhere.

 Asian Fortune reviewed seven films that may be of interest to our readers, including Asian films from Singapore, Malaysia and Japan as well as Asian American films made in the United States. We also interviewed audiences at the festival to get a taste of their reaction. The films are listed in alphabetical order. If you wish to see the complete schedule, please visit http://festival.dcshorts.com.


Chinatown (Documentary, Directed by Yi Chen): The District’s Chinatown has seen many changes over the past decade, challenging its established residents. “I live near Chinatown, a block away. To me, the film about Chinatown is really important because this is where my neighborhood is going. I remember as a kid growing up in Washington what Chinatown was like and I’ve seen what it has become. The film is of great interest to me and my audience as well.” says Jon Gann, the festival’s founder and director.

Sept. 25 at 7pm at E Street Cinema

Sept. 28 at 4pm at Atlas Arts Center


Dim Sum (Drama, Directed by Fu Chen): A supernatural mystery in which a Chinese couple provides customers with their specialty dim sum buns that brings the customers the possibility of rejuvenation but it might come with an unexpected payoff. “I have a mixed feeling about it. I liked it and it has a twist, but the story is a little familiar for me.” says audience member Echo Xie.

Sept. 25 at 5pm at E Street Cinema

Sept. 27 at 9pm at U.S. Navy Memorial


Paulie (Comic Drama, Directed by Andrew Nackman): Paulie is a 9-year old Asian kid in the 7th grade. Used to being the smartest kid in the room, Paulie aces every test, wins every spelling bee and science fair, and does not lose. So when bully Tony beats him one day at an essay contest, Paulie refuses to let it go.

Sept. 28 at 2pm at Angelika Film Center

Sept. 28 at 2pm at Atlas Arts Center

Sept. 28 at 2pm at Anacostia Arts Center

Sept. 29 at 2pm at Angelika Film Center

Sept. 29 at 3pm at VisArts (Rockville, MD)


Requiem for Romance (Animation, Directed by Jonathan Ng): A modern-day couple’s secret love affair comes to a bittersweet end during an evening phone call. The visuals of the film reveal the epic re-imagining of their relationship set in feudal China, where family influence, cultural pressures and their lust for adventure makes more sense.

Sept. 24 at 9pm at E Street Cinema

Sept. 27 at 6pm at Angelika Film Center


Sanzaru (Diffusion of Responsibility) (Dramedy, Directed by Sinclair): The film explores a phenomenon “Diffusion of Responsibility” where people are less likely to help a stranger if surrounded by others.

Sept. 24 at 9pm at Angelika Film Center

Sept. 27 at 7pm at U.S. Navy Memorial